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legal issues

Surrogate raising baby left by biological parents is 'willing to forgive them'

A Thai woman raising one of the babies she gave birth to as a surrogate may soon receive help from the Australian government.

Pattaramon Chanbua, 21, was left with Gammy after his biological parents went back to Australia with only his healthy twin sister. Gammy, now seven months old, has Down syndrome and a congenital heart condition. Pattaramon said she's not mad at Gammy's mother and father and is "always willing to forgive them," but does "want to see that they love the baby girl as much as my family loves Gammy. I want her to be well taken care of."

As The Associated Press reports, in Australia, it is illegal to pay a surrogate mother; it can be done for free, but the surrogate then has the right to keep the child and not give it to the biological parents. In some states, including Western Australia where Gammy's biological parents live, it is legal to pay a surrogate living abroad. On Monday, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told Sydney Radio 2GB the law is "very, very murky," and the government is "taking a close look at what can be done here, but I wouldn't want to raise any false hopes or expectations. We are dealing with something that has happened in another country's jurisdiction."

He added that Pattaramon is "an absolute hero" and "a saint."

Pattaramon said a surrogacy agency in Bangkok promised her 300,000 bhat, or $9,300, but never paid following the twins' birth in December. She also said the agency knew about Gammy's health issues when she was four to five months into the pregnancy, but doctors waited until she was seven months along to tell her and then suggested she abort him. "I asked them, 'Are you still humans?'" she told The Associated Press. "I really wanted to know."

There is some immediate assistance on the way for Pattaramon; an Australian charity called Hands Across the Water has raised $200,000 for Gammy since July 22.